WIR #2: Steering the Craft

Steering the CraftLe Guin, Ursula K. Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew. Portland, Oregon: The Eighth Mountain Press. Copyright © 1998, by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Ursula K. Le Guin's web site:
http://www.ursulakleguin.com/


Finished. This is hands down one of the best books I've read on writing. I did all of the exercises, and I had loads of fun doing them, too. I will share more of these exercises with you later. For now, though, I'd like to close with the closing paragraphs of this book, which made me laugh:

At the beginning of one of my books I wrote, "The people in this book might be going to have lived a long, long time from now in Northern California." If I've got it right, that's the active voice, progressive conjugation, potential mood, present tense, third person plural of go inflecting the past infinitive of live.

I deliberately used this magnificent conglomeration of verbiage to establish myself and the reader as being in the complex situation of pretending to look back in time on some fictional people whom we pretend might exist in a time very far in our future. You can say all that with a couple of verb forms. (The Northern California part is extra.)

The copy editor was amazingly civil about my grand verb. One reviewer apparently was unable to get to the end of it, and whined about it. Others cited it with what I hope was amusement or admiration. I still like it. It was the shortest way to say exactly what I meant. That's what verbs, in all their moods and tenses, are for.

Amen, sister! :D

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